The stunning streak of Kansas and Missouri legislators making stupid remarks has extended into 2018.
On Saturday, Kansas state Rep. Steve Alford of Ulysses met with constituents at a hospital in Garden City. During the session — as first reported by the Garden City Telegram — Alford explained why he opposes legalized marijuana in the state.
“What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas (and) across the United States. What was the reason they did that?” Alford asked.
“One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, the African Americans, they were basically users, and they basically responded the worst off those drugs just because their character makeup, their genetics and that.”
It was an appalling, uninformed, bigoted thing to say. After some pressure, Alford finally apologized Monday.
The rest of us are left to ponder why state lawmakers around here are so careless with their words.
One-time Kansas Rep. Virgil Peck once suggested illegal immigration might be solved by shooting immigrants from a helicopter, like feral hogs. Last year, Missouri Rep. Rick Brattin said “there is a distinction between homosexuality and just being a human being.”
Missouri Rep. Mike Moon has said the state should “ponder” the marriage of 12-year-olds. He dramatized his anti-abortion approach by killing a chicken in a video.
Then there’s Missouri Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who posted her wish for the assassination of President Donald Trump on Facebook. And Missouri Rep. Warren Love, who suggested hanging those who vandalized a Confederate monument.
Now Kansas state Rep. Alford joins the list of disgrace.
They should all be ashamed. The comments embarrass their colleagues and draw national condemnation. Recently, a worldwide travel guide recommended tourists avoid Missouri.
Perhaps all Kansans and Missourians can use these incidents as a reminder: State legislative elections are important, maybe the most important elections of all. Voters must pay attention.
Lawmakers in Topeka and Jefferson City, meeting now, will determine how our kids are educated, what our taxes will be, how roads and bridges can be maintained, how safety can be protected. It’s real work.
But it’s made much more difficult by dunderheaded comments suggesting racial “genetics” play a role in marijuana use. In that sense, Alford’s statement will be clarifying for his constituents in the 124th District if he runs again.
They’ll get to decide if they want someone like Alford to hold the seat.